It’s funny, I’ve actually never written about trolls and keyboard warriors. It’s not because I’ve never experienced them either! I had my first troll encounter within my first 6 months of business. It shook me to my core. Not to mention keyboard warriors and people who round their posse to have a swipe at your public page. It’s sickening and I have seen many a grown woman and man brought to tears by their cruelty. So why do trolls and keyboard warriors effect us so?
Question our ability
This is the one I get shaken on the most. I like to keep people happy. I like to over deliver. So when a troll rears up, they have me instantly wondering if I was actually wrong with what I wrote.
This was my first instance of trolling. I had written an article and a grammar fiend jumped in on it. I was so embarrassed and changed the image 3 times before I realised that they were just being dicks. From there on I questioned every sentence I wrote and checked (I was providing proof-reading services at the time). They had won, they had shaken my confidence and had me questioning my ability.
They take our power. Our mojo. They swipe the rug out from underneath our feet. We think we have it together and then ‘Whoosh! Gone!’, we’re flat on our butts with a bruised ego and confidence.
Question our self-worth
In the main, we like to be liked. So when someone attacks us in this way it makes us question who we are and why we deserve it. Perhaps we feel that we deserve it. Perhaps it takes us back to the school yard bully. Perhaps they dog our Achilles heel.
Trolls and keyboard warriors make us question ourselves. Our self-worth is where most of us feel most vulnerable. You see, putting yourself up online is an act of vulnerability. We say ‘here we are, this is what I do, and I hope you love it as much as I do’. Trolls cut straight through this and tell us ‘no’. That reinforces why we were afraid to put ourselves out there in the first place.
Question if they’re not the only ones who think this way
So we now believe our stuff is useless, we’re useless and surely with all the people there are out there on the internet, this one person couldn’t be the only one who thinks we’re crap! Right?
Look, sometimes they even prove to us that they’re not the only ones who think we’re awful by having their friends comment on our work, back their position up, continue to tear us down. Then the battle lines are drawn or sometimes your fans, for fear of being abused, back off and the balance of power tips and the troll wins.
This is where we start to spiral. They put into question the core of what we do and how we see ourselves and surely they’re not alone. I mean we have so many fans and clients, there’s bound to be a good proportion who equally hate us.
So now the troll has broken us, now what?
I’m not going to talk about what to say, how to address them, because honestly I can’t advise you. This is your business and your troll and they have their own particular pattern of warts that they wear. What I can do is the following, as a gesture of hand holding, friendship, and support…
They are in the minority
I can count on one hand how many trolls I have had in my 6 years in business. I might be fortunate and some might say it’s because I don’t have a high enough presence. The thing is, even looking at friends who run large pages – trolls are in the minority. There are many more people who love you and need your work than there are trolls.
It’s actually about them
My trolls are threatened by me. I know that. They talk to my friends who they believe are allies and it gets back to me. They are insecure. So the stronger I get, the weaker they feel, the more they troll, and the stronger I get realising that I am making my mark.
This is probably my most powerful tool against them. I realise that the more they attack, the more I am winning – not them. Every attack is like a big thumbs up to me to keep going, to build a stronger business, and to stay the course – because they hate it!
So we actually have the upper hand and like we were told at school or tell our kids, don’t let the bullies beat us. Keep going! You get up on your patch of dirt and you carry on. Why? Because you’re a winner, you’re beating them. You actually have them on the back foot. They’re trying to put knives in your back because it’s the only place they can reach – because they’re behind you.
So you don’t forget, share this to Facebook, pin it on Pinterest, stick it around, share it with a friend, print the images so you can be reminded that it is you who has the upper hand – not the troll. And when things seem dark, email me or message me and I will remind you. x